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To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe

News/Business. (2013) Sexual assaults on women in Egypt; actresses missing from films; poverty in the suburbs. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Egypt 5, Us 5, Bonnieerbe 2, Douglas 2, E. Rhodes 2, United States 2, Bonnie 2, Leona B. Carpenter 2, Hollywood 2, Geena Davis 1, Dalia Ziada 1, Bonnie Erbe 1, Angelina Jolie 1, Tcm 1, Bbc 1, Taliban 1, Isreal 1, Rina 1, Halle Berry 1, Elizabeth Kneebone 1,
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  PBS    To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe    News/Business.  (2013) Sexual assaults on women in Egypt;  
   actresses missing from films; poverty in the suburbs. New....  

    July 6, 2013
    11:30 - 12:01pm PDT  

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>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation the e. rhodes and leona b. carpenter foundation. and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" first, sexual assault in the egyptian uprising. then, women silenced in movies. behind the headlines: poverty
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moves to the suburbs. hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, sexual assault and the egyptian protests. for days millions packed cairo's streets and tahrir square awaiting what they hoped was morsi's resignation. as during the arab spring, there were numerous reports of sexual assaults on women. protestors, who as voters helped bring morsi to power. the women's group operation antisexual harassment reported at least 44 cases of sexual
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assault on just the first day and more as protests continued during the week. a bbc journalist tweeted that women were taking refuge in his building to avoid sexual assault. operation anti-sexual harassment is asking for volunteers to protect women during the protests. egyptian activist dalia ziada is fighting back against this latest round of assaults on women's rights in egypt. >> we have a big problem of sexual harassment and recently this problem is not only a social problem but it was politicized. the politicians started to use this to keep women away from participating in protestings. so as a solution in tehrir square for example, we had like the men there in a circle to keep the women in while they are
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protesting. so they can move freely but at the same time but at the same time they could not be harassed. >> ziada says women are at the forefront of the movement to oust mori. >> this time we are revolting against a regime that sees women, i am sorry to say this as sexual object. they don't see her as a leader, they don't see her as an essential participant in public life. and they did not try to say this out loud in public. all the times they claim morsi in particular when he came to power, he kept claiming that we support women's rights but in fact, he did not do anything for women. anything. so, by women participating in this right now they are guaranteeing their own rights as well. >> freedom from sexual assault become a principle of u.s. foreign policy? >> actually i hope so. bonnie, women were at the
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forefront of the egyptian revolution, i assume that this is the work of counter revolutionaries or perhaps thugs. >> good for those women standing up for the right to protest what has been a terrible regime, not good for women anywhere but morsi hasn't been the right leader either. >> there's also some element of gangs in that fraternities, you see individuals will do in a gang that they would never consider doing on their own. but there is so little bystander intervention says something about the culture. >> let's be honest there is culture pervasive of women being objectified. you have religious, conservative clerics and government officials say this is the women's fault they should not be mixing with men in society. there's this underlying nature there that we are not going to be helped overnight.
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>> i think everybody would agree it's fabulous that the women are standing up there now and fighting back against these assaults. but how -- they were also voters not just protesters in the arab spring how could they elect a guy who would turn out to be so completely different from what they thought they were voting for. >> wouldn't be the first time voters have voted for someone based on how they presented themselves during an election then turned out to be something different. >> the women didn't elect this leader. the only organized political in the society after the arab spring in egypt was the muslim brotherhood. they took advantage of that and they have not been able to have the kind of parliament government where the minority has some say and they did a take over. they're paying for it. >> obviously morsi hasn't been a good representative of how
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egyptians should feel about women's equality. that is not the only reason he's being protested. he's been bad for economic opportunity in the country. he's had nothing but disdain for civil society. not just failure on his behalf to recognize women's rights but a failure across the board. >> he's trying to become a dictator. he -- the constitution, and tried to put one in that made him -- >> right. >> commander in chief and supreme leader. >> we make a mistake when we think that women's only interest in politics is women's issues. but a lot of these women who are protesting are seeing the broadband width of issues where he's a failure. >> but it's manifesting itself, if you listen to the woman we interviewed he is -- mors six creating these gangs of thugs who go out and try to -- assault women sexually as a tool, talk about race becoming a tool of war. here it's a tool of --
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attempting to be a theocracy. >> hobbsly the women are standing up and fighting it they're engaging men to support that fight which is absolutely critical you need both women and men to stand up against sexual assault. >> eleanor, when you are involved in foreign policy discussions in congress, does it ever come up that -- and particularly the arab countries are so tricky because like we see in syria obviously whatasad is doing ask horrendous, but some of his so-called freedom fighters fighting against his regime are members of the taliban. you never really know how you go in and who you help. how is that complicated by the fact that sexual assault is involved here in egypt? >> horrifically so. because you will find the women and congress who have been impatient as it is with this
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revolution, with a growing number of members of the congress wondering why we're contributing to the egyptian. here is where politics gets -- >> how much do we give -- >> billions each year. that was a part of an agreement which is one of the few that helped us settle anything in the mid east during the carter administration. egypt gets that certain amount, isreal gets that certain amount. each administration, particularly where there's been a rule of law and there's been an election year have tended to at least wait and not to jump in and here we have a regime that is barely a year old. so this is tragic, because if it's going to happen, i believe once again who created order, the military. frankly they're the ones that brought democracy to egypt and they're about to intervene and do the same thing again. >> you have a problem with military aid going to --
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humanitarian aid going to a regime that is so clearly anti-female? >> i think we've learned that the united states and foreign policy needs that clearly defined goals, what exactly is our national interest here and what can we do in the interest of egyptians, i think now is not the time for us to be involved in either side of this conflict in egypt. >> i agree with you from many practical reasons, it's hard to sit there and watch -- >> absolutely. >> -- gang rapes on such a massive scale. >> then again the american way can't fix it overnight. what they're dealing with over there is far different from the culture we have over here. we have a rights highway based democratic culture here. over there it's going to take a long time for women to raise their voices politically just because of the things that are in place culturally. you can't change this overnight. nor should americans try. we should certainly take a good look where we're throwing our money. >> definitely so.
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let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. from women's rights to women's visibility if you go to the movies, as most of us do this summer, you might see superman, giant robots, or zombies. but one thing you'll see less of are female characters with speaking roles. according to a new report only 28% of speaking characters from last year's biggest movies were female, down from 33% five years ago. while "the heat," a buddy cop movie written by a woman with two female leads, opened last week, that's an anomaly. women make up only about a tenth of all writers and directors. and according to actor geena davis, whose institute tracks women in media, at the current rate it will take about 700 years for women to reach parity in hollywood. why, rina are we going
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backwards? i mean we should be moving forward. >> we should be, what's going on is that there street this glass ceiling there for women in film, particularly those who think to be directors. where are the women film directors what i want to know. i want to look at the actresses, there are strong women such as halle berry another woman of color like me. like jennifer garner from my home state of west virginia. they have come to stages accepted awards upon awards they shattered the heelings. here is what's different, they look at individual merit, they get somewhere not by looking at the collective they're going somewhere based on their individual merit. who are the role models for the role models, right? these women seek to be trailblazers, i'm optimistic that this can happen. this exists right now. but us forcing roles and things of that sort can't happen overnight. >> but what can happen? in height of the figures on female roles, we are half of the box office, we're taking this?
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for goodness sakes that's how we can do something about it. i'm very concerned that we have helped make this industry in to an international industry so people want to semen doing these goofy things and they are not catering to these women who are helping to create the industry here who make the industry run they are catering to some international whoever, group of men around the world who say, well, let the americans give us what we want and forget what their own -- what their own half of their population wants. women need to rise up as consumers. >> when we decided to do this topic this week i went online and i looked at lions gate produces some of the most quality films coming out hollywood i was shocked to see on their website, anyway, all of their top managers are white males.
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about seven or eight of those people in that category. then they show their board of directors and ten or 12 board of directors, one woman. nobody at least they didn't show pictures, didn't seem like anybody of color. how can they be getting away with this in this day and age? >> again, this is the thing, this is long been the culture, men in hollywood. at the higher and upper echelon. it's societal. they can fix it by letting women in the board room much like outside in business. women can have a place but getting there by collective bargaining is not the way. have to take individual responsibility to get there. >> a lot of powerful female actors, they want to be called actors now not actresses, but female actors such as angelina jolie are using their power and their finances to produce and direct their own movies. jolie did it a year and a half ago with a movie about race as a
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tool of war, that she shot in the former bos knee i can't-hers area. and she but that was a flop. do women have to -- when they do go out on their own do they have to learn more about what becomes commercial success? so that they can pop out movies that are -- that give women parity but also make money at the box office. >> i'm not entirely sure that she was looking for commercial success. she has money and she was using her money to cover something that she felt -- >> it was sold to theaters. you got to believe that she wasn't looking for that. >> no, i'm sure that she was disappointed in that outcome. but it really is in great part about the money. it's that are the funders fund. not just the directors or the actors, you have to have the
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money for those directors to direct and actors to act in women-focused movies. there is a belief, i don't think it's true, but there's a widespread belief that women will watch movies about men but men will not watch movies about women. if you make movies about men the whole population will watch them. where as if you make movies about women for the most part the men won't watch them. the same thing they do believe it or not in cartoons, vast majority of cartoon movies have the male mouth is the lead. the male pig, the male pair, the male smurf do this with children i think we've got to -- >> not all the disney princess, right. like moulan was seriously tough woman she was great role model. there's lot of examples here and thereof women characters who we should all aspire to be like the
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heroes that they are. but how the characters are represented. sometimes playing to the bad stereotype but they do this to men, too. there's a huge interest in how women are represented in the media. we really talk about how men are represented because while there are some super men characters there are a lot of fuddy-dud deincompetent men, i don't think that's fair. >> and super heroes are not -- maybe something little boys would want to emulate but not -- they have their drawbacks, too. but you made a great point, eleanor, about -- that these movies are catering to international sales. what do we do about trying to get women more powerful in their roles more representative in movies made for american audiences? >> that's really where we have to work. women want stories the decline of the novel, decline of storytelling does not help
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women. you look where the great movies are. they're not action movies, they are the -- over and over again, tcm, and people want to see them over and over again. if we make those stories, they may not be about women we take the risk and this risk-based economy of making some of those great stories from the 21st century, we will bring -- team the rest of the world that there is more to american films than jumping out of skyscrapers and surviving. >> exactly. behind the headlines. a very different issue, poverty in the suburbs. poverty used to be seen as a primarily rural and urban issue. but it's becoming more of a suburban problem and actually rose in america's suburbs by 64% in the last decade. elizabeth kneebone, author of confronting suburban poverty, says many factors caused this shift.
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>> there are a number of reasons we've seen poverty growing in the suburbs. thinking generally these numbers can increase either as low income people are moving into these communities or as long term residents are slipping down the economic ladder and we've seen a combination of both of those factors in most of our major metro areas across the country. >> foreign-born people account for about a third of the population growth in the suburbs. >> as suburbs have grown over the years they've become more diverse both economically and demographically. part of that is immigration we increase seeing the immigrant families locating in the urban communities. but that's not the driving force here. overall, across our major metro areas the foreign born population contributed to about 17% of the growth in the suburban poor population. so the bulk of this increase that we've seen actually happened among native-born residents. >> the shift from urban to suburban poverty started before the recession >> the typical household income
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was falling even before the great recession hit, and in fact this tipping point where we now see more poor living in suburbs than in cities that happened in the early 2000's. even before the collapse of the housing market. >> the unemployment rate is leveling out throughout the country, but kneebone says suburban areas will continue to struggle. >> we tend to think about the recession because clearly that was so severe and touched so many people and places across the country, cities, suburbs, rural communities alike. but in fact when we look at the shift of the map of poverty in this country, this was a longer running trend, since the '80s the poor population has been growing faster in suburbs than in cities, and that's something that's picked up pace over time. >> kneebone says a more strategic use of government resources already available to fight poverty would help fight suburban poverty. >> what we propose in the book is looking at the $82 billion we are already spending. this is a very fragmented pool of money, it's -- it's not necessarily adapted to the current landscape of poverty in this county.
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but by just re-purposing a small portion of it, 5%, that would be $4 billion to create a competitive program that would think differently about the way we channel sources into communities. and this money would also be expected to leverage private funds, so that the impact would be much bigger than just that $4 billion. >> some suburbs have also come up with programs that should serve as national examples. >> there are a number of really promising models that we've seen across the country in different regions. in terms of regions that have adapted to this reality, that see that urban and suburban poverty alike are a challenge in their communities, i think you organization like neighborhood centers which is human services organization that really works at the right scale in terms of tackling these issues. >> is that it easy to get the money to fight poverty together
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in one place and try to fight it more in the suburbs than currently the aim in the city? >> i think the money got scattered across a lot of different agencies because there's an effort to focus on all of those individual problems. needs more coordination, no doubt about it. but creating a super bureaucracy to consume all this i'm not sure is a great answer, either. >> what do you do about poverty in the suburbs? it's different in -- >> there are individual things that you can address. obviously jobs is a huge issue, in my area we work with domestic violence victims who for whom having a job or getting a job means that they might have the economic means to leave an abusive situation and yet can't get transportation to that job, they're trapped in an abusive hold. creating transportation is a
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huge part of getting access to jobs, when the jobs are in the urban areas and you're in a suburban area of poverty. >> even when they're in the suburban areas they don't have the terrific mass transportation systems that cities have. but, bonnie, the only thing worse than poverty is poverty that is not acknowledged. as some suburbs would rather not even sully their reputation as anything but the place to move and if you acknowledge that this place is growing with a lot of poor people, they fear the reputation of the suburban community of themselves. because they have already allowed suburban poverty to grow so that it's worse now than urban. so what happened to urban
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poverty. a lot happened it to. some of it bad, some of it very good. but most of it was the acknowledgment of these cities were full of poor people and lot of things had to be targeted specifically to them. these suburban communities have got to acknowledge if they catch it now there may still be chance, i think, they have already waited a very long time. >> i think the growth of suburban poverty really illustrates that there's no one average poor family in the united states. they're all diverse, they face a diverse set of circumstances and hardships. and because of that diversity and because of the various needs that individuals may have, i believe that the best poverty relief is the most local poverty relief. so while there is political treasure from the federal government to be involved, better to deinvolve more of the programs to more local level where people can be more interacting with people's personal lives. >> what about job creation. to me the mess antidote to offer pe is job creation.
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do we have policies in place that are getting jobs created in the suburbs now that it seems to be -- they are needed more just as much in the suburbs -- >> that's where jobs are being created. that's the irony. it moved to the suburbs. the jobs have moved to the suburbs but if you don't focus on this population they will move all around and no one pays any attention to them when it comes to making sure that they get some of those jobs. >> this may not be statistical poverty but we ought to trace this right back to the housing bubble. people are living in places that they really can't afford. and there has been a real lack of mortgage relief programs, there has also been, if you really look at it a new wave, folks who are living in suburbs who may have one out of two, couple are under employed maybe some responsibility for aging parents, two kids, garage, a mortgage, this is all really the part of what's happening here. folks are really suffering under all this. and what's happening that there are lack of public and private partnerships. i'm a big fan of those.
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because i think that's what really solves and helps these problems only when public and private sector comes together to say, what can we solve locally. that's the only thing that's going to bring the suburbs right back out of where they have gone. the suburbs are economically stable. >> very good thoughts to end on. that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe and @tothecontrary and visit our website, pbs.org/tothecontrary where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time.
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>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation the e. rhodes and leona b. carpenter foundation. and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a transcript or to see an online version of this episode of "to the contrary" please visit our pbs website at www.pbs.org/tothecontrary.
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